Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Drama as Survation reports that Remain's lead has dropped to just SIX points - unusually low for a telephone poll

It's beginning to look like the signs over the weekend and Monday that Remain were pulling clear in the EU referendum may have been illusory.  Hot on the heels of YouGov and ICM polls suggesting that Remain have made no progress at all in online polling (and have possibly gone backwards), we have a new Survation telephone poll that puts the Remain lead at just 6%.  As far as I can see from the records, that's the third worst showing for Remain in any phone poll from any firm - the only worse ones were a freakish ORB poll in March, and YouGov's rather artificial experiment earlier this month that was intended to illustrate that phone polls are inaccurate.

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

Remain 44% (-1)
Leave 38% (n/c)

The change from the last Survation poll may look insignificant, but it has to be remembered that the previous poll was already the worst for Remain in the series by some distance - Survation were showing a gap of eleven points in March, and fifteen points in February.  Perhaps more to the point, if Ipsos-Mori and ORB were correct that the Remain lead has dramatically surged recently, you wouldn't expect Leave to be narrowing the gap in any other phone poll - even by the smallest of amounts.  So in spite of the claims from Downing Street that private polling corroborates the Remain-friendly findings from ORB, the evidence from public polls now looks very shaky - three out of five telephone firms (ICM, ComRes and Survation) are failing to support that narrative, as are three out of four online firms (YouGov, ICM and TNS).

It's also worth emphasising just how bad yesterday's ICM poll was for Remain, once you take account of the methodological tweaks.  ICM have noticed that the earliest responders to their online polls are disproportionately likely to be Leave supporters, so they've introduced two changes to resolve that problem - they're downweighting early responders, and are also staggering survey invitations in the hope of attracting a more representative sample in the first place.  Crucially, we're told that the weighting changes alone were responsible for the equivalent of a 2% swing to Remain - meaning that without them Leave would have had a 4% lead in the poll.  But it's surely logical to assume that the staggering of the survey invitations also worked in Remain's favour, which may well mean that without any methodological changes at all, the Leave lead would have been even higher than 4% - and that would have been the best ICM poll for Leave to date.  So in terms of the trend, ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Survation all seem to be singing from the same hymn-sheet - either no real change, or minor progress for Leave.

One thing that's got on my nerves during this campaign is the succession of smug articles from pollsters along the following lines : "Hmmm, yes, it does look like phone/online (delete as applicable) polls are turning out to be more accurate.  But what's interesting is why that should be the case.  Let's have a discussion about why online/phone (delete as applicable) polls are so useless at the moment."  YouGov are at it today (arguing that online polls are best), and their ex-President Peter Kellner was at it a few days ago (ironically he took the side of phone polls).  Seriously, chaps, what you're doing is putting forward speculative theories.  It won't "turn out" or even "look like" one side or another is more accurate until we see the actual referendum results.  Then the side that got it right can gloat to its heart's content, but it really is the height of arrogance to do it now when nobody actually has a sodding clue how things are going to play out on June 23rd.

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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

50/50 ONLINE/TELEPHONE AVERAGE :

Remain 45.9% (-0.6)
Leave 40.6% (-0.3)

ONLINE AVERAGE :

Remain 42.1% (-0.3)
Leave 42.2% (-0.5)

TELEPHONE AVERAGE :

Remain 49.6% (-0.9)
Leave 38.9% (-0.1)

(The Poll of Polls takes account of all polls that were conducted at least partly within the last three weeks. The online average is based on nine polls - four from YouGov, three from ICM, one from TNS and one from Opinium. The telephone average is based on seven polls - two from ORB, one from ICM, one from YouGov, one from Ipsos-Mori, one from ComRes and one from Survation.)

29 comments:

  1. I am confused. I thought the last few polls showed it getting closer? How can it constantly be getting closer. ?? You know what I mean.

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    1. The race has certainly been getting ever-closer in the Survation telephone series - the Remain lead has gone from 15 points, to 11, to 7, and then to 6 today.

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    2. I am disturbed by the number of polls. Also by how much difference in each poll. And by each company.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 8:56 PM

      You can seek poll councelling. That Anon who is the main contributor and answers for everyone! else who contributes needs immediate help.

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    4. 23, the gift that keeps on giving.

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  2. You must worry the Yoons, James.
    A lot of 'new' posters seerm to like your site.

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  3. Hello James!

    It's SeanT from PB.COM

    I like your analyses of the euroref polls. I shall be back for more. Your Scot Nat perspective is refreshingly neutral and, perhaps as a consequence, often very insightful - better than most of the stuff south of the border.

    You probably don't wanna hear that - hah - but anyway: good work.

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  4. Hello James!

    It's SeanT from PB.COM

    I like your analyses of the euroref polls. I shall be back for more. Your Scot Nat perspective is refreshingly neutral and, perhaps as a consequence, often very insightful - better than most of the stuff south of the border.

    You probably don't wanna hear that - hah - but anyway: good work.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 8:53 PM

      John Thomas, put your willy away.

      They may be Nat si's but there is no need for that.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 9:11 PM

      Anon do you have a problem! Just post as yourself and get to play with your own willie. You are a sad fooker do get help. Go out and meet people.

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    3. Sad, strange, angry little man. Get the crayons out of your mouth.

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    4. stop impersonating me 23

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    5. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 9:42 PM

      Anon, the whitecoats are at your door. Just open it.

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    6. Ladies and gentlemen, the spectacular incoherent ravings of 23. Appearing under a bridge near you.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Remain is actually 8% ahead when you strip out the undecideds

    Remain lead has gone down a negligible 1% since last Survation poll - still a "steady" lead though, as confirmed on Survation's own website

    Remarkably, the betting markets are moving even further towards Remain - now an astonishing 84% chance on Betfair

    DG

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    1. Seriously, Davy, unless you're arguing that a decent percentage of Betfair punters have access to private polling, you can ignore that figure. The last three polls have been moderately good for Leave, so there is no rational basis for anyone to conclude that the chance of a Remain victory has further increased over the last 24 hours.

      I dealt with your first point in the blogpost. The change in this poll is only "negligible" if you look at it totally out of context. There has been a gradual decline in the Remain lead in the Survation series of phone polls - from 15 points, to 11, to 7, and now to 6.

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  7. Turnout will be the key on polling day if the polls have it neck and neck. I presume the Leave side will have more enthusiastic voters but will it be enough as I suspect turnout will be a bit lower than in 1976. My peers don't seem to have taken much interest in the Referendum covered to 2014.

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    1. Compared not covered - this predictor text thing is annoying.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 9:39 PM

      The leave will turnout in vast numbers because they are not crawlers to a corrupt shower off shit. What will the crawlers do!

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 9:46 PM

      They will crawl out of their arses like the Nat si's did when the British shot at them in the trenches

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    4. Edith Snellgrove-WhitmanMay 25, 2016 at 10:11 PM

      The nutter has arrived. Sigh.

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    5. Glasgow Working Class 2May 25, 2016 at 10:27 PM

      Even Edith Smelly has been allowed tae comment fay Carstairs. The Nat sis have raised their game..... Pity politics have passed them.

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    6. I agree Marcia. I have a feeling the turnout will be very low - more like a council election than a wastemonster. If the UKIP 4 million voters are motivated enough they may manage to swing it.

      Oh, and go fuck yourself troll tranny GWC

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    7. Always fun when 23 dissolves into fevered fantasies about warfare.

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  8. There does not appear to be any way that Remain can halt their slide. They've only really got one issue on their side - the economic argument - and they are expressing it badly and exaggerating to such an extent that I suspect they have already lost all trust.

    When this happened to the No campaign in Scotland, they at least had the fall back of the press and international politicians to feed headlines to the pliant BBC.

    They are trying the same thing here, with the same pattern on the BBC where every story is "Remain claim WOrld Ending Catastrophe" followed by "Leave deny". Again just like with Indyref only one side gets to deliver a message and the other side is only allowed to deny/refute without any detail given.

    But Remain don't have the press on their side and to a great extent they've already shot their bolt on the economic argument. Meanwhile Leave appear to be keeping their powder dry, they still haven't gone big on Immigration.

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    1. Remain still have plenty of cards yet to play from the project fear playbook. Pensions, for starters.

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    2. You may be right about the MSM swinging it for out. Personally, I think this is going to be too close to call in advance of the count.

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    3. Pensions actually highlight that subtle difference between the campaign's positions.

      Yes Scotland didnt want to risk complication, and just stuck to a simple message on pensions, accepting liability transfer and payment. Project Fear could use this to their advantage while a full explanation of Yes Scotland would have been extremely complicated to get across even if it left Scotland billions of pounds better off.

      With the EU Ref, it's much simpler. Pensions don't transfer. They aren't paid today by the EU and would continue to be paid by the UK. All it comes down to is a basic question of affordability with no other changes which is effectively the economic argument that Remain have already pooched.

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